Monday, February 16, 2009

After Two Days in IL

The bitter cold of Chicago jolts me every time I walk outside, and its crisp bite thoroughly wakes me up into winter. I love making it find me buried deep inside my coat, hat, scarf, and mittens (loaned ever-so-lovingly to me by SB). I love how it brings me snowflakes that surround me in a winter wonderland, that fall on my eyelashes and shoulders. And I love how it drives me inside to warm mugs of tea with friends I love.

The time I’ve had with friends has been so rich. I absolutely have been away from them too long. Rediscovering Kim has been one of the best things about my time so far. A lot has happened in the year and a half since I last saw her, the most significant being motherhood. So I stand nearby and watch her, taking in her movements of this new role, and just feel glad. There she is with her husband and baby, and she’s no longer just Kim. She’s fuller… richer. She’s herself, but more beautiful, and surrounded by rich layers that add to her self (give me a paintbrush, baby, and I’ll paint out the description in my head). I celebrate her and feel more alive myself for being near.

SB and I have, as always, settled quickly into living life together. Our friendship is perhaps the deepest and richest I've ever experienced. A history of 9 1/2 years says a lot about how well we know each other, especially because 6 1/2 of that has been spent in different states/time zones/countries, which means it has required intentionality (book discussions, letters, care packages, thousands of wireless minutes!). Her direct, knowing questions and responses to my out-loud thoughts humble me. I can get away with nothing. She gives me good space for resting, playing, and reflecting.

And so it all begins, this time with community and friends so far away from home. Though this used to be my home, my heart is clearly now in New Orleans, and I do miss it. Miss the southern sway of Life's gait down there and the hospitable smiles of the neighborhoods I once walked through. Ah, if only I could have both worlds...

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